Airport Identifiers – FAA, ICAO, IATA, and NWS – to K or not to K?

Early in flight training, pilots learn that airports we go to have a 3 character FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) identifier. My home airport is EMT and pilots soon go to POC. The terminal chart (TAC), sectional chart, chart supplement, or your favorite app or airport information web site will all show this identifier

You might think… Great! I can use that FAA identifier in all my apps, tools, and web sites. Students quickly realize that’s not true. The US government’s own site will give you a “No METAR found for EMT” error, but works if you enter KEMT. So, great, I just have to use that second identifier. Not so fast! You quickly realize that not all airports have that second identifier. Take as an example the Big Bear City Airport, with the identifier of L35:

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I Love (touring) LA (from the air)

Hollywood SignCue Randy Newman… I love to take people up in the air so they can see the perspective I enjoy so much. Los Angeles has a lot of great sights from the air. Because flying around LA’s complicated airspace without a plan is a bad idea, I’ve settled on a standard tour that I use when taking friends and visitors up for a flight. It can be adapted based up desired length, conditions, and what the passengers want to see. Although this is written starting and ending at El Monte, it could be easily adapted for most airports in the LA basin. Continue reading